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Ofcom UK to Soften Mobile Signal Booster Requirements

Tuesday, Oct 24th, 2023 (11:57 am) - Score 7,552
mobile_signal_repeater_diagram_uk

The UK telecoms regulator has proposed to soften their requirements for licence exempt indoor “mobile phone repeaters” in order to reflect both the introduction of in-vehicle 5G and the withdrawal of older 2G and 3G networks. Most operators (except O2) expect to close 3G by the end of 2024, while both 2G and 3G must be switched-off by 2033 (here).

Since 2018 it’s been possible for consumers to use repeaters that boost and retransmit UK mobile signals, which can help to improve local mobile coverage, provided they follow the rules and don’t cause undue interference, or other adverse effects, for nearby customers. Devices like this simply work to boost an existing mobile signal – handy if you live in an area where fixed broadband doesn’t exist (boats, camper vans etc.).

NOTE: Such devices are NOT to be confused with Wi-Fi Calling or Femtocell based signal boosters, which require the customer to have an existing broadband connection in order to function.

However, the current regulations state, among other things, that static indoor repeaters designed to boost a 4G mobile (mobile broadband) signal must also repeat a 2G and/or 3G signal. The problem is that this is starting to conflict with the current move to sunset 2G and 3G networks, and Ofcom are thus looking to update their rules accordingly. But that’s not the only change being proposed.

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Ofcom’s Proposals

1. Remove the requirement for indoor repeaters that boost a 4G signal to also carry a 2G and/or 3G signal or frequency in order to be licence-exempt. This will allow the installation and use of 4G-only repeaters, subject to compliance with the remaining technical conditions included in the licence exemption regulations.

2. Update the regulations and associated Interface Requirements to enable in-vehicle mobile repeaters to amplify signals in the 700MHz band, and to make them technology neutral. This enables them to repeat 5G signals in the bands included in the Interface Requirement.

The new consultation will run until 4th December 2023 and we’d expect Ofcom to announce their final decision during early 2024 sometime.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Dazmatic says:

    Bugger. Just bought a booster for B20 but got B3 dual with a massive parabolic so that it’s boosting a 3G band also. Granted I get great performance on B3 indoors now but it would certainly have saved some of the faff.

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